Knowing Right From Wrong

A Christian Guide to Conscience

Christian - Living
224 Pages
Reviewed on 03/15/2009
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

Many seem to talk about conscience but few understand it. Definitions for conscience vary from justification, moral sensibility, to a severe moral taskmaster. Thomas D. Williams explores the conscience from a Christian perspective. Knowing Right From Wrong investigates the “relationship among conscience, freedom, faith, truth and happiness”
Williams points out:

1.      “Conscience is more than a feeling.

2.      Conscience involves moral judgment.

3.      Christian conscience is interpersonal.”

In the chapter “Altered States” Williams discusses loss of conscience:

1.      “ Sneakiness

2.      Moral Parenthesis

3.      An eagerness for loopholes

4.      Flight from prayer

5.      Rationalization”

Williams addresses freewill in chapter 14 “Your Right to Say No.” Knowing Right From Wrong has discussion questions at the end of each chapter, making this a great book study. This is not a simple topic however, Williams makes it understandable and fascinating. Williams writes with an extremely intelligent style. His theses are complex. Scholars, students, and philosophers will find Knowing Right From Wrong an interesting and priceless tool.

Elizabeth Barnes

This is the clearest account of moral conscience I have ever read. The funny thing is, that with all the examples, analogies and vignettes, it reads more like a mystery story than a textbook. I have long been a fan of Father Williams' writing, but this one takes the cake! I especially like his refutation of moral relativism, and his nuanced account of conscientious objection. I found myself nodding in agreement on every page.

Tho Nguyen

Knowing Right from Wrong is written in everyday language, yet offers deep and powerful wisdom that one can use in every day life. I feel so much closer to Christ after just reading a quarter of the book. I love it. Get one for yourself and one for everyone you know.

Mme Steliana Marabini

Most people are unhappy because they have a great void in their lives: They miss God.
God is somebody that loves us always, He forgives us and gives us a second chance. And we must be worthy of Him. How? It is not easy, but we can found the answers in Father Thomas Williams's book. Knowing right from wrong is not too difficult, after all, but we need a guide. This book is a wonderful guide. As Father Thomas explains, we can recognize a wrong behaviour from the very beginning, and individuate the signs. In this way we can act immediately, as we do with an illness: If we treat it from the very beginning we have better chances to recover.
The search for excellence, trying to make the best of ourselves, being better with our family, more ethical in our work, more charitable with our friends... Readers will find all this and more in Father Thomas Williams's book.
It is a book that changed my life, it will change also yours.
Liana Marabini
(Monte-Carlo, Principality of Monaco)


"Knowing Right From Wrong" is a beautifully written and informative non-fiction work about conscience. Unfortunately, I can't really recommend it because we're supposed to live by the Word of God and His leadership and guidance. Although I don't think this makes the conscience completely obsolete, I don't believe it should get as much attention as it does in this book. Still, Thomas D. Williams, LC, ThD has penned some very poignant moments from his own memories that make this a thoughtful read. This work also includes questions for reflection and study at the end of each chapter.